About this Show

CNN Presents

Toxic Schools; Deadly Fruit; Battery Power... News/Business. (2012) (CC)

NETWORK
CNN

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
1920

PIXEL HEIGHT
1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 6, Fda 6, Kendall 5, Michelle 4, Garth 3, U.s. 3, Atlanta 3, Hinsdale 3, Tce 3, Griffin 3, Dr. Sanjay Gupta 3, Volkswagen 3, Mckinley 2, Eastern Colorado 2, Walcott 2, Parkinson 2, Edie Geiten 2, Pennsylvania 2, Gary Tuchman 2, Derek 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CNN    CNN Presents    Toxic Schools; Deadly Fruit; Battery  
   Power...  News/Business.  (2012)  (CC)  

    November 22, 2012
    12:00 - 1:00pm PST  

12:00pm
thing he would do in a heart beat, call my momma. >> according to the collier county sheriff's office, the tips are still rolling in, but nothing concrete enough to make an arrest. it is, of course, a very active investigation. that's it for tonight's show. i'm randi kaye. >> i'm drew griffin. thanks for joining us. i'm gary tuchman at the cnn center in atlanta. here's what's happening. updated reports of texas reveal the multivehicle pile-up near beaumont is worse than originally thought. a texas highway patrol officer tells cnn at least one person is dead, there are multiple injuries. the chain reaction accidents involved an estimated 100 cars and trucks on interstate 10 about 70 miles east of houston. it turns out fewer than a dozen top officers witnessed osama bin laden's burial at sea last year. newly released e-mails of the
12:01pm
defense department reveal traditional islamic procedures were followed but none of the officers aboard watched the burial. and here is proof drug smugglers will try anything. australian police discovered roughly quarter of a billion dollars of drugs stashed inside a steam roller shipped in from china and busted a u.s. citizen and a canadian. i'm gary tuchman in atlanta. happy thanksgiving to all of you. next, "cnn presents." tonight on "cnn presents." toxic schools. >> that was a building that was storing chemicals that were cancer causing agents and because of the vicinity and the children that are involved, you didn't care. >> these parents have every reason to be angry. their children's school has toxic chemicals and even worse they were the last to know. deadly fruit. fresh summer cantaloupe.
12:02pm
it seemed healthy but it caused a deadly outbreak. >> any one of those things prevented this tragedy probably wouldn't have occurred. >> how it could have been prevented and could still happen again. battery-powered brains. an experimental surgery that can literally change poem's minds. >> it felt fantastic. i didn't care what was doing it. >> is it a cure for depression? >> revealing investigations. fascinating characters. stories with impact. this is "cnn presents" with tonight's host drew griffin. >> tonight, we focus on stories related to your health, threats to you and your family. this is a revolutionary treatment for depression you want to know about. we begin, though, with an investigation in to how school could be making your child sick. the parents as public school 51
12:03pm
in the bronx thought they'd hit the jackpot. their children won the lottery to get a coveted spot in one of new york's best public elementary schools. but they found out their school had a problem and it's not the teachers or the test scores or even the other kids. the problem is the building. it's toxic. that's right. it wasn't safe for the children and ps 51 isn't alone. as part of dr. sanjay gupta's ongoing reporting of toxic towns he found all over the country children are going to schools that can make them sick an his first stop is ps 51. >> i need your lunch bag. >> okay. >> she's helping her son. >> brandon seems excited. but marisol, well, she seems nervous. >> i prepared myself for this. >> this is more than just a case of first day jitters. >> i cannot wait to get to
12:04pm
school. >> last august, just weeks before school started, marisol saw this emergency meeting notice taped to her son's school. ps 51 in the bronx. that night, she joined an auditorium packed with worried parents. chancellor walcott opened with a dramatic statement. >> first i want to start out by apologizing to all of you. >> and followed the apology with disturbing news. >> we have decided to do environmental reviews. your school came with the result that we were not satisfied with with an elevated level of tce. >> tce is a carcinogen. prolonged exposure can cause parkinson's, cancer, even death. tests at ps 51 showed levels at 100 times worse than what's considered safe. >> based on the final confirmation, we thought we needed to shut the building down.
12:05pm
>> parents are upset. >> you are using euphemisms. you are trying to be nice. that was a building that was storing chemicals that were cancer causing agents and because of the vicinity and the children that are involved you didn't care. >> you guys would have had first allowed it to be used as a school for our children. >> i think it's so inappropriate. >> but the parents were even more upset by the fact that the board of education discovered it in january of 2011. yet, parents weren't told and their children were kept in class through the end of the year. >> i voiced my displeasure with our folks and myself as far as the timeliness of that notification and from this point on whenever we get a positive notification around some type of environmental issue, the parent community, the staff and the school community will be notified immediately. >> i met marisol outside that
12:06pm
contaminated school. so the staff, the kids, all of the people who are essentially in this building a good chunk of their days knew nothing about this? >> nope. the chancellor said he was sorry. >> how worried are you? >> very worried. this is the school right here. >> she says even brandon who's normally upbeat is worried. >> you like this new building? >> uh-huh. >> do you know why you're in the new building? >> yeah. >> why? >> because it closed with tce, a chemical. >> you know all about that. what do you know? >> cancer causing chemical. >> wow. we wanted to ask chancellor walcott why they didn't tell parents about the toxic chemical in the school but his office declined to speak with cnn. >> for the sheer ka louseness and recklessness of the behavior
12:07pm
toward kids, this is as bad as i have ever seen. >> lawyer shawn collins has won a number of tce contamination suits for communities around the country. >> the people who ran this school and the environmental consultants knew for at least six months that there were dangerous levels, in some cases off the chart levels, of chemicals in the air that these kids were breathing and they let them go there day in and day out for the rest of the semester. >> collins said the building should never have been a school. >> it's an old industrial site. not a place to have kids going to school. >> p.s. 51 did house a car garage and a lamp factory. tce once used to degrease metal could have been leftover waste. many schools around the country are built on old industrial sites according to lenny see gal who digs up the past of toxic schools. >> we don't consider
12:08pm
contamination before we decide where to put the school and particularly in new york city where they have so many schools on leased properties, most of which are former industrial sites or at least many of which, i don't know the exact number, they had a policy of not looking for problems. >> he believes that ground and water testing should be mandatory. he also says p.s. 51 is probably always problematic. weeks before brandon and the other p.s. 51 kids started at the new school, parents were hit with more unsettling news. tests revealed slightly elevated levels of a common but toxic dry cleaning chemical, pce. parents showed up at another meeting to confront the chancellor. >> i have to say dennis walcott, how dare you? >> how dare you? >> the chancellor dismissed the test results at the new school as insignificant. >> there was an open container.
12:09pm
so once that was corrected, the levels came back down. >> parents like marisol no longer trust the school system. what will you do? >> we're going to watch him consistently and any little thing that he gets is going to be an alarm for me. he's 8 years old and it's scary that i have to see what's going to happen with him. i pray that it's nothing's going to come of this. but you just don't know. >> when we come back -- >> about a third of our schools have some kind of problem that causes respiratory problems in children. it is horrific. it's not for pa, it's just for sleep. because sleep is a beautiful thing. ♪ zzzquil, the non-habit forming sleep-aid from the makers of nyquil.
12:10pm
zzzquil, take the steps to reach yours, everyowith usgoals. with real advice, for real goals. the us bank wealth management advisor can help you. every step of the way. from big steps, to little steps. since 1863 we've helped guide our clients, so they can take the steps to help grow, preserve, and pass along their wealth. so their footsteps can help the next generation find their own path.
12:11pm
all of us serving you. us bank but i still have a runny nose. [ male announcer ] dayquil doesn't treat that. huh? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus rushes relief to all your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ sighs ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth!
12:12pm
we have seen a school contaminated by a toxic chemical in new york where many schools sit on old industrial sites but sanjay gupta's investigation found the problem goes far beyond toxic chemicals. our kids spend about half the waking day in school but there are no air quality standards for classrooms in the united states. in fact, one school in three has air quality so bad by epa standards it can make children sick. some fed-up parents didn't wait for summer vacation. they said their kids are staying home until things get better. here again dr. sanjay gupta.
12:13pm
>> in picturesque winstead, connecticut, a 250-year-old new england town, a typical school day at hinsdale elementary. but one fourth grader, matthew, won't be there in morning or any morning. >> now, if you look at him what do you think? do you think he's going to be friendly? >> matthew's mother, an elementary school teacher, home schooled her son lastier. >> when he was out of school, he was well. and when he was in school, he became ill. he missed more than 50 days of school. >> mold at hinsdale, she said, was making her son sick. >> this bag represents most of the medications that matthew was on last year. he was given -- right before he went in the hospital for pain.
12:14pm
when he left school, he left all this behind, too. he needs none of it. so this is garbage. so this is actually zo ro. >> parents of alexandra pulled her from school after a cough wouldn't go away. that was a tough decision because her father paul was on the school board at the time. >> she was put on a nebraska lizer, steroids and another medication. since she's been at parochial school, she hasn't been on any of it. >> the school district spent $16,000 this fall to get rid of the mold at hinsdale and the board is now trying to decide whether to close the school temporarily to replace a leaky roof and make other repairs. only about 20% to 30% of the population is susceptible to indoor air problems like mold or dust. but for those who are, the symptoms get increasingly severe. in fairfield, connecticut, so many students and teachers were getting sick with respiratory
12:15pm
problems that officials decided to tear down mckinley elementary and start from scratch. the school was riddled with mold. >> i started to get sick the second year when they put me in the basement classroom. >> mckinley special ed teacher jo ellen lawson taught for 23 years before she was disabled with a serious lung disease. >> there are three levels. mild, moderate and severe. because i have lost 50% of capacity, i'm considered a moderate person. i've never had a pain free day since then because i have chronic pain. i have muscle spasms. >> you can see another source of pain for jeellen if you ask her if she misses teaching. >> that's a loaded question for someone forced to leave their profession when they didn't want to. i'm sorry.
12:16pm
>> if you think connecticut is somehow unique, consider this. a 2010 survey of school nurses nationally found 40% knew of children and staff sickened by their school environment. and not all school districts have the money to fix the problem. here at southern middle school in redding, pennsylvania, concerns about air quality closed the basement gym. and mold is visible in the mputer lab. >> we see some colonies. probably two or three different kinds of mold there. >> and take a look upstairs. >> when it rains heavily, the water actually rains in to the room what we do is take the buckets and trash cans and we collect the water. >> it's raining outside and inside. >> a teacher shot this video.
12:17pm
>> what about mold? >> one of the residual effects to the water would be mold, certainly. >> drew miles is acting superintendent of redding schools. he's seen the video. and he says there's no money to replace that roof. >> the buildings continue to deteriorate and we only have a small amount of dollars to spread to do just some minimal things like new roofing. >> there are some people who would say this would never happen in my school. >> lily of the national education association which is the largest teacher's union agreed to meet me in redding, pennsylvania. >> how big a problem would you say air quality, indoor air quality is in schools to a student's health? >> right now, the last estimates said about a third of our schools, about a third of our schools have some kind of problem that causes respiratory problems in children. >> that's remarkable. >> it's horrific. it is horrific. >> would you send your kid to this school? >> to this school?
12:18pm
would i send my child to this school? for the quality of education that i believe that these teachers can provide and the principal will demand, yes. from a facilities standpoint, if i had another option, i would exercise it. >> you're the superintendent. i think people are going to be surprised because, i mean, you are the guy who they say, look, make it the school you want to send your own kid to. but you can't do that. >> i can't with the financial means that i have now. >> you know, the solution to this. and it costs money. and this -- it's the right thing to do to get the schools they need to give the kids a healthy place to learn. >> the acting superintendent we saw there, he was fired this spring after we first aired the story on cnn. coming up, it was the worst
12:19pm
food poisoning outbreak in the u.s. in nearly 100 years. killing more than 30 americans. and it could have been prevented. we investigate. so what do you think? basic.
12:20pm
12:21pm
at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke.
12:22pm
last fall americans began to hear of people sickened and dying from eating cantaloupes infected with a bacteria called lysteria. it lasted months and then in december health officials announced it was over.
12:23pm
by then, at least 30 people had died and it was the deadliest food outbreak in nearly 100 years. we decided to investigate how the outbreak happened and how it could have been prevented. you pick them out knowing just how sweet it's going to taste and how good it's going to feel. summer cantaloupe. you're eating right. you're eating healthy. and all the better if you're pregnant. like michelle wakely. do you remember the cantaloupe, bringing it home, thinking, i'm pregnant. >> i'm going to eat healthy. >> right. >> getting fruit cups at restaurants. it will be good. summertime. nice out. fruit's in season. tastes good. >> cantaloupe's in season. >> yeah. >> that was last season. and since the moment she ate that cantaloupe, her life and her baby's life would never be the same. >> went out late in the afternoon and we were just at a store and i had to call dave. i'm having terrible
12:24pm
contractions. >> nearly three months before kendall was due, the baby was literally forcing her way out of her mother's poisoned body. >> oh my gosh. i was so scared. it hurt so bad. and the reason why it hurt so bad, the baby was trying to come because the infection was pretty far in to my bloodstream. >> it was lysteria. a dangerous infection for pregnant women, for the elderly, for small children. but it come from cantaloupe, from one farm. michelle and her husband had no idea about all of that. they just knew both the mother and the child were in trouble. when they told you this baby is born 11 weeks early -- >> it was awful. the doctor came in and he told you about all the problems that could happen with the baby born that premature. it was devastating. she could be blind, she could be deaf. have heart problems. adhd and the list went on and
12:25pm
on. >> michelle's baby was born in a rush within hours and as soon as she arrived baby kendall was whisked away by a team of emergency doctors. michelle and david couldn't even hold her. barely saw her. when you did see her, what did you see? >> we probably saw her 6:00 or 7:00 the following morning and she was -- >> so little. so tiny. red, all wrinkled. didn't really look like a real baby but something you look at in a picture or something. bones showing through. >> translucent? >> translucent, yes. okay. >> this is kendall months later. better but still developmentally behind her peers. >> she's got a button surgically put in the stomach and like a valve. >> being fed through a button in the stomach. still under 24-hour care. >> you still don't know what kendall's facing. >> correct. >> right.
12:26pm
>> you have a couple of years at least? >> yes. >> to wait, watch and worry. >> every milestone's going to be like is she going to do it? will she be three months late? for sure we won't know everything, the full extent until she goes to school and starts to learn. >> kendall and michelle are among the lucky ones. they lived. we now know according to federal statistics, the outbreak last september was the most deadly food outbreak in the u.s. in nearly a century. and one of the worst three outbreaks ever. nearly three dozen americans died. it should never have happened. last fall, as people began to die, to fall sick, investigators from the food and drug administration and the centers for disease control fanned out across two dozen states interviewing those falling ill or relatives of those who died. they took samples of blood and
12:27pm
samples of fruit still sitting in refrigerators and the trail of evidence, the cannot lopes themselves, led to this remote part of eastern colorado. near the town of holly. and one single farm. general sons. >> it really was an a-ha moment. >> the fda's investigator on the case. you were able to go back to the victims' families and told, look at. it's grown on this particular small farm four hours southeast of denver -- >> yep. >> -- is what caused the death of your loved one. >> yes. i mean, the evidence is very, very strong in this case. it's some of the strongest evidence i have ever seen. >> jensen farms has been a fixture in this part of colorado since the early 1900s when the first jensen arrived from denmark. since then, this dried dirt has been past from generation to generation. two years ago, it went to eric
12:28pm
and ryan jensen. they grew up growing cantaloupes, knew the business by heart. but last year they decided to make just a few changes. and it would cost them everything. >> turning the operation upside down with significant changes they made. it was a very tragic alignment of poor facility design, poor design of equipment and very unique post harvest handling practices of those mellens. if any one of those things was avoided this tragedy probably wouldn't have occurred. >> what went so wrong? >> how could anyone have a food processing plant without any local state or federal inspection? nyquil what are you doing? [ nyquil bottle ] just reading your label. wait...you relieve nasal congestion? sure don't you? [ nyquil bottle ] dude! [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime
12:29pm
relieves nasal congestion. nyquil® cold and flu doesn't. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ [ gordon ] for some this line is a convenience. how you doing today? i'm good thanks. how are you? i'm good. [ gordon ] but for others, it's all they can afford. every day nearly nine million older americans don't have enough to eat. anything else? no, not today. join me, aarp, and aarp foundation in the drive to end hunger by visiting drivetoendhunger.org.
12:30pm
in the drive to end hunger syou know, i've helped alot ofof people save a lot of money. but today...( sfx: loud noise of metal object hitting the ground) things have been a little strange. (sfx: sound of piano smashing) roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep? (sfx: loud thud sound) awhat strange place.
12:31pm
geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
12:32pm
we now return to "cnn presents" with your host tonight drew griffin. >> last fall federal investigators determined a small farm in eastern colorado was the source for the contaminated cantaloupes that caused the deadliest food outbreak in nearly 100 years. what happened at that farm and the food safety system that failed to stop the outbreak of deadly fruit? my investigation continues. the worst food borne outbreak in
12:33pm
nearly 100 years began at this form. two young brothers, the fourth generations of jensens decided to change the way they packed the mel ones their family had sold for decades. they will not say on the record just why but we know what they did. cantaloupes were cleaned with a new machine, actually a second hand potato washer according to fda inspectors and the farmers eliminated a wash used by many farms. the fda would later find out the jensen farm had created the perfect conditions to grow the dangerous bacteria listeria. >> it was a very tragic alignment of poor facility design, poor design of equipment and very unique post harvest handling practices of those mel ones. if any one of kroez things prevented this tragedy probably wouldn't have occurred. >> the melons were time bombs.
12:34pm
the sick, the elderly, and unborn babies the most vulnerable. since september, more than 30 dead. one as recently as march. every single death linked genetically to the kans lope at jensen farms. >> so we had lots and lots of evidence that basically this was definitively as possible a smoking gun that this was the source of the contamination. >> what many people don't realize is most of the produce we eat is never inspected by any government body. the fda doesn't have the money or the man power to do it. the food industry didn't come up with its own voluntary inspection system called food audits but we found that system is full of holes. just days before the outbreak, jensen farms paid a private food inspection company called primus labs to audit their operation. the labs subcontracted the job to another company bio food
12:35pm
safety which sent a 26-year-old with little experience to inspect the jensen farm. james gave the farm a 96%, a superior grade. but on the front page of the audit, he noted that jensens had removed the microbial wash. >> having anti-mike robe yal in any wash water, the primary or first step is absolutely essentially and as soon as one hears that that's not present, that's an instant red flag. >> trevor seslo is a top expert. >> what i would expect from an auditor is that they would walk in to the facility, look at the wash and dry line, know that they weren't using the anti-microbial and say that the audit is done. you have to stop your operation. we can't continue. >> the auditor would not return
12:36pm
cnn's calls. the subcontractor, bio food safety, and primus labs declined cnn's interview requests. to some food safety experts, the third party audit system that the jensens relied on is a joke. >> the so-called food safety audits are not worth anything. they are not food safety audits. they have nothing to do with food safety. >> this doctor runs one of the nagts's largest food safety and testing labs for the country. he saids no consumers should have no faith in the audits because of a conflict of interest. farms pay for their own inspections. >> if this industry is sincere and they want to have their product be of use to anyone they should be printing their audit reports on toilet paper. the problem is that we have never had a recall, an outbreak
12:37pm
or a situation where, you know, several people died but the company in question was not audited and did not have scores of 96%, 97%, 95%, 98%. >> while critics say some auditors do a good job, it's a voluntary, patchwork system with no national standards for regulations. for now, the audit system, however flawed, is what most farms rely on. why? because in four generations of farming, the fda's jim gorney and team were the first federal food safety officials to ever set foot on jensen farms. >> prior to your arrival, the fda had never been to that farm? >> they had not. >> never seen them before. why should anyone be allowed to have a processing plant without
12:38pm
to require the amount of expertise,out having the food safety systems in place, produce food and send it in to chain of commerce? we have had failures at multiple levels. >> back in indiana, michelle wakely doesn't care much about the fda, the private inspector and they got sick by cantaloupe by farmers who should have known better. >> monday i am going to go to that farm and i'm going to speak to those farmers. what would you like me to ask them? >> why? because they said that the facilities weren't clean. they said the -- everything about the process was not done correctly in accordance to the guidelines issued by the government. there are so many things they weren't doing correctly y.? to save a dollar. i mean, people have died now. >> we met with ryan and eric
12:39pm
jensen, the two brothers that now run jensen farms for about an hour in their office behind me. it was all off the record. not to be quoted. jensen farms has now filed for bankruptcy. its assets likely to pay medical claims of those sickened or families of those who died. most troubling of all, there is nothing in place, no protective systems, that could prevent this from happening again. just last year, president obama signed the food safety modernization act in to law but even with the new law, farms or food facilities still may not be inspected anymore than once every seven to ten years and many experts are not convinced the problems will be solved any time soon. up next, cutting edge medicine. the story of a patient with a battery-powered brain.
12:40pm
i wish this test drive was over, so we could head back to the dealership. [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. test drive! but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a jetta. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down, $0 due at signing, $0 deposit, and $0 first month's payment on any new volkswagen. visit vwdealer.com today. on any new volkswagen. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now.
12:41pm
how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years,
12:42pm
ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪ i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. [ sighs ] thanks! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth and save $1 visit alka-seltzer on facebook. when you give a child a toy,
12:43pm
it has to work. ♪ make just one someone happy and when it's a toys for tots child, well, what could be more important? so this year, every hasbro toy donated to toys for tots will be powered by duracell. happy holidays. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere. our next story is on a subject that scares many. mental illness. because there's so much we don't understand. in any given year, 5% of americans have serious mental health problems. many cases, mood disorders, addiction. according to a government study, that go untreated but tonight dr. sanjay gupta is going to show you a new kind of surgery that literally changes the way
12:44pm
our brains work. >> for as long as edi can remember, she could not get the sad thoughts out of her head. >> i mean, my mother used to say to me, smile. why don't you smile? and i would, you know, give a -- something like that maybe or just think, what is there to smile about? >> at 19, her blank face reflected what would later be diagnosed as severe depression. >> that expression is the best i could do. >> what's it like to look at it now? >> i feel sorry for her. you know? i just -- i feel bad for her. that she couldn't smile. that she couldn't talk to people about, you know, what is going
12:45pm
on with her. that would lead her to cut her wrists several months later. >> it was her sophomore year. academic and social pressures were the trigger. and one night -- >> for reasons that are inexplicable to me even now, got up and started playing with a razor and -- >> you cut your wrists. both of your wrists? >> yeah, uh-huh. >> she went in to counseling. but it didn't help. over the next 40 years, she tried everything else. including psychiatric drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. >> there was a few years that i -- i think i death pretty good but then i went back down and i went back down very deep. >> there were two more suicide attempts before she conquered the demon. what finally worked?
12:46pm
well, if you could look inside edi's head today, this is what you'd see. >> i don't think about it but i have electrodes in my brain. >> two electrodes. the thickness of angel hair pasta. powered by a battery pack under her collarbone. >> and the wire goes up here and then in to my head -- in to my brain. >> specifically to a part of the brain known as area 25. it's an experimental treatment. what are we looking at here? pioneered by dr. helen mayburg. >> the x is where we're stimulating. >> mayburg is using high tech imaging to study the brain circuits that control mood. she figured that area 25 is a junction box in the middle of it all. >> okay. here we go, charlie.
12:47pm
>> her research showed in depressed patients, area 25 is relatively overactive. >> here again you can see area 25 except now it's red as opposed to blue because this is an increase. >> she theorizes in patients that did not respond to conventional treatments, area 25 somehow stuck in overdrive. >> it just was a matter of following the experimental trail. >> okay. >> the trail led to the operating room. >> i have one. >> and to procedure of deep brain stimulation, dbs. here at emery where i'm on staff, my colleagues have been using deep brain stimulation more than 15 years to treat movement disorders like parkinson's disease and targeting the brain's motor system but dr. mayburg targets area 25 for patients with severe
12:48pm
depression. so beginning in 2003, working with a brain surgeon in toronto, she began testing it on six patients. it had never been done before. >> we had patients who were profoundly without any options. and suffering. and we had a hypothesis. >> what did you worry about most in terms of potential side effects from actually stimulating 25? >> because of its vital position, its junction box location, for all we knew we were going to activate it and make people feel worse. >> instead, mayburg saw two thirds of the patients get significantly better. she has since reported similar results for 31 others. >> and we not only get them better, but with continued stimulation, with this device, they stay well. >> people who had lived in a block of emotional ice, people like edi who had lived that way for years.
12:49pm
>> it's not that you won't be happy or that you aren't happy. you can't be happy. >> not even when her grand niece susan was born. >> somebody handed to me and i held her but i didn't even put her face to mine. i just held her but i was going through the motions and i felt really nothing. >> nothing? >> nothing. nothing. >> on the day of surgery, edi's head was mounted in a rigid frame. >> the sound of the drill, the feeling of it, and my teeth are going like this. i think it hit home to me this you're having brain surgery. somebody is going in to your brain. trust me, this is new bayer migraine. [ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula.
12:50pm
hand-carved on the side of a cliff is the guoliang tunnel. what?! you've got to be kidding me. [ derek ] i've never seen a road like this. there's jagged rock all the way around. this is really gonna test the ats on all levels. [ derek ] this road is the most uneven surface, and it gets very narrow. magnetic ride control is going to be working hard. the shock absorbers react to the road 1,000 times a second. it keeps you firmly in control. whoa! [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats.
12:51pm
thor's couture gets the most rewards of any small business credit card. your boa! [ garth ] thor's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day! ahh, the new fabrics, put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less? the spiked heels are working. wait! [ garth ] great businesses deserve the most rewards! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? [ cheers and applause ]
12:52pm
12:53pm
imagine living in a hole so dark, you cannot see. so deep, you cannot escape. that's severe depression. now doctors are experimenting with a cutting-edge treatment. battery-powered brains. how does it work? can it cure depression? dr. sanjay gupta continues his investigation.
12:54pm
>> reporter: in an operating room at emory university in atlanta. >> right now we will anchor these in place. >> reporter: these doctors are trying to use deep-brain stimulation to turn off severe depression. where the blood vessels are and obviously choosing the target. is that right? >> yes. >> reporter: the target is area 25. a junction box for brain circuits that control our moods. >> our patients are miserable. it's beyond sadness. they spend most of their day just sitting there often thinking, you know, why can't i just die. >> reporter: at first, patients are lightly sedated. as dr. robert gross drills two holes. with an instrument to guide him, he then inserts the electrodes. to make sure the electrodes are in the right spot, we can actually listen for neurons firing in the brain.
12:55pm
the gray matter sounds like this. the white matter is silent. and that's where they want the electrodes. the white matter. just below area 25. >> we just confirmed that all the electrodes are basically in the right place. >> reporter: it was a procedure, just like this, done on edie geiten. what were the risks? what did they tell you? >> brain damage, infection, death. >> reporter: did you have second thoughts about doing this? >> no. >> it was that bad? >> it was that bad. >> reporter: deep brain stimulation would change her life. >> is the contact up? >> contact is up. >> reporter: you could see it happen when she was wide awake in the operating room with the doctors. >> are you okay, edie? >> yeah. >> okay. >> reporter: as a benchmark, they ask edie to rate her feelings on a scale of 1-10 starting with dread. >> it feels like the dread is
12:56pm
getting worse. >> she says the dread is getting worse. rate it. >> ten. >> reporter: two minutes later, they turned on one of the four contacts. >> how does that feel right now? is it still hot? what's the dread right now? >> maybe a three. >> reporter: a drop from 8 to 3. but doctors would soon get an even better result. remember, before the surgery, edie could not connect emotionally with her grand niece, susan. then, they turned on contact number 2. >> just let me know if anything changes. just give a shout. >> i almost smiled. >> you almost smiled? >> yeah. >> describe that for us, would you, please? >> i haven't smiled, i haven't smiled, i feel like, in a long time. >> it brings tears to your eyes to see somebody that is in such pain and then that goes away.
12:57pm
>> when you say you almost smiled, does something strike you as funny? or is it sort of spontaneous? >> it was -- well, actually i was thinking of playing with susan. i started thinking about susan, little susan. i thought i was holding -- you know, i was holding her with her face to me. right there in that little brain surgery. i felt feelings that i thought were gone. >> reporter: what was that like? just to think that a machine with electricity can transform your emotions like that? >> it felt fantastic. i didn't care what was doing it. it just felt great. >> actually, spoon is in there. >> reporter: it's been five years. edie is one of dr. maberg's most
12:58pm
dramatic success stories. >> pretty good, huh? i don't feel good all of the time, but this gives me the capacity that if i can, if there is joy in my life, i have the capacity to feel it. >> reporter: but what exactly is going on? what is dbs doing to the brain circuits? what to we know and don't we know about why this works? >> to be honest, we don't know why it works. >> reporter: if area 25 is so important, why isn't everyone getting it done? >> maybe we are doing something wrong. maybe they're not the right patient. that means we've got to understand the biology better. >> reporter: in addition to depression, scientists are looking for obsessive-compulsive disorder, epilepsy, tur tourette's syndrome and alzheimer's. in the meantime, edie geiten is thankful for her new life. >> oh! >> reporter: with the battery
12:59pm
pack delivering 1/1000th of the power that a flashlight uses. do you feel electricity or anything? >> i don't feel anything in my head at all. did you go off medication when you were pregnant? >> reporter: she's active with the mental health advocacy and support group. and she recently traveled to italy with old friends from college. >> and that smile was real. i was okay. >> reporter: it's only been an issue once. >> at the airport, i just go and i say -- and they say pacemaker. and i say yes. at one time, i said it's brain at one time, i said it's brain electrodes and i never will do that again. the woman patted me down like she was afraid i would explode. >> well, you've got to love airport security. a couple of final points. dr. mayberg and another doctor hold a patent on the procedure. this is still experimental.

Terms of Use (10 Mar 2001)